This genus, recently divided into two different genera, brings together about 1500 species of epiphytic orchids, present in all tropical areas of the globe, mostly in Asia; the Bulbophyllum are usually around 30-50 cm in height, but there are also miniature species, while the Cirrhopetalum are generally small plants. The large number of species also has a large number of shapes and colors and obviously there can also be a great diversity of needs between one plant and another, so we will try to describe the needs of the Bulbophyllum and Cirrhopetalum that more often are found in trade. The Bulbophyllum have generally single flowers, with particular labellum, which is articulated and vibrates with the lightest breeze; the flowers of the Cirrhopetalum instead are usually arranged in groups arranged in a fan, and often have long appendages similar to hair. These orchids have conical pseudobulbs, which carry one or two thick, leathery leaves; the roots are rhizomatous and tend to widen considerably, in fact usually these orchids are grown in hanging baskets or on large pieces of bark.
Most species need quite intense, but not excessive, brightness, and should be grown away from direct sunlight which can cause burns in a short time, especially during summer days; in winter they fear the cold and must therefore be grown indoors or in greenhouses, however in places with a minimum temperature higher than 12-15 ° C. In summer, instead, they can be kept outdoors, away from the scorching sun and the wind that excessively dries the air. They are plants that love environments with a good degree of environmental humidity.
Being generally epiphytic plants, these orchids need an incoherent substrate, consisting of vegetable fibers, bark and sphagnum pieces, with a high draining power.The repotting of these plants is carried out when the roots have developed for the whole size of the container, replacing the substrate with new compound, so as to have a valid support for the growth of plants. Before doing the repotting, wet the roots so that they are less fragile.Multiplication
For the reproduction of these orchids, after flowering it is possible to divide the pseudobulbs, forming new plants, which are immediately placed in a single container, using the same substrate that is used for adult orchids.
Bulbophyllum: Pests and diseases
Excessive watering, an old or inadequate substrate or an incorrect container can favor the onset of root rot; cultivation in poorly ventilated areas can lead to the development of cochineal, which can be eliminated by using a cloth with rubbing alcohol on the leaves.